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The House Judiciary Committee demanded testimony from a senior Biden administration official at ICE regarding a decrease in deportations of criminal migrants. The committee is investigating whether the federal government is properly enforcing immigration laws amid record levels of illegal immigration under President Biden. ICE has removed significantly fewer criminal migrants since 2020, with the average number of migrants detained at the border also dropping. This decline in deportations and detentions coincides with a surge in illegal border crossings.

The total number of southwest land border encounters since Biden took office is over 7.2 million, according to Customs and Border Protection data. Lawmakers found that there are over 600,000 criminal aliens not subject to detainment orders and free to reoffend. The congressmen question why the ICE official has been championing alternatives to detention rather than deportation. This includes GPS tracking or reporting whereabouts on a smartphone app. The emphasis on alternatives to detention came after ICE had determined it had little value.

The ICE official had previously worked for Kids in Need of Defense, a group against the deportation of unaccompanied minors who enter the country illegally. She was previously questioned by the House Homeland Security Committee regarding suspicious contracts awarded by ICE to a former colleague who left the Biden transition team in 2020. The colleague worked for a nonprofit group that received millions in ICE contracts for migrant services. ICE did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

The House Judiciary Committee requested testimony from the ICE official due to the relevance of her information to their oversight of the Executive Branch’s enforcement of federal immigration law. The committee wants to conduct a transcribed interview as soon as possible to gather more information on the enforcement of immigration laws under the current administration. The focus on alternatives to detention has raised concerns, especially following instances where individuals have cut themselves free from monitoring devices and absconded from authorities.

The lawmakers are concerned about the high number of criminal aliens not subject to detainment orders and free to reoffend. They question the effectiveness of alternatives to detention and advocate for a more judicious use of detention resources by ICE. The case of a Venezuelan national and alleged gang member who absconded after being let into the country under ATD while cutting off his monitoring device highlights the potential risks of relying on such alternatives. The investigation by the House Judiciary Committee seeks to shed light on the enforcement of immigration laws amid a surge in illegal immigration and declining deportations of criminal migrants.

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